2020 EASTER CELEBRATION
Below are the services which were planned but had to be canceled due to CDC guidelines and concern for the safety and health of worshipers. However, online services are scheduled each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at bigcanoechapel.org. Daily updates, including prayer with Len Walker, are also available.
The Chapel sanctuary is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is a safe place for individual worship and prayer. We are so very sorry that gathering together to worship and celebrate is not possible this Easter. Please look at what some are saying about Easter by clicking on WHAT EASTER MEANS TO ME and join us for online services each Sunday!
• LENT begins [Learn More Here]
• Ash Wednesday Service [Learn More Here]
• Palm Sunday Services [Learn More Here]
• Maundy Thursday Service [Learn More Here]
• Good Friday Service [Learn More Here]
• Community-Wide Easter Sunrise Service at the Terraces [Learn More Here]
Online Service 10:00 a.m. • Easter Sunday Services [Learn More Here]
THE SEASON of LENT
In the Christian faith, Lent is the season leading up to Easter Sunday, the day Christ was resurrected from the dead. Lent lasts forty days, representing the forty days Jesus spent in the desert wilderness preparing to begin his ministry and enduring temptation by the Devil (see Luke 4: 1-13).
The word “Lent” comes from lencten (Anglo-Saxon meaning “spring.”) References to Lent have been documented as far back as 1000 AD. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at Easter. Sundays in Lent are not
counted in the forty days because each Sunday in Lent is a time of celebration- a time to anticipate the coming Resurrection with joy.
For Christians, Lent is a time of self-examination in preparation for Easter. It offers a chance to look within and let the Holy Spirit help us see things about ourselves that we need to change, ways in which we have fallen short in our relationship with God. It is a time of increased spiritual discipline and purpose. Often believers commit to giving up certain luxuries to remind themselves of Christ’s sacrifice. Alternately, some believers may begin daily devotionals or prayers, or commit to doing certain acts of charity in remembrance of Jesus’ Love for all.
Lent is a period of incredible opportunity to draw closer to God.
FASTING & ABSTINENCE:
In his book, The Fasting Key, Mark Nysewader references the 6th chapter of Matthew in which Jesus speaks of the THREE ESSENTIAL KEYS to the Kingdom of Life. These are: 1) PRAYER, 2) GIVING, and 3) FASTING. Most of us probably try to do the first two keys but I don’t think many of us do the third key: Fasting.
Nysewander makes it clear that a fast is giving up food for an agreed amount of time (the agreement is between you and God). You still drink water. Abstinence is giving up something you really like. The right motive is essential in both Abstinence and Fasting: You do it for the glory of God (e.g. you don’t fast to loose weight or you don’t give up pretzels when you don’t really like them anyway). And you don’t fast when it is contraindicated by medical advice!
Jesus fasted often but I believe that he NEVER fasted during a FEAST TIME. He wouldn’t have gone to a wedding and say, “Sorry! No wine for me; I’m fasting.” Forget it! Jesus’ first miracle was to make water turn into wine when the wine ran out at a friend’s wedding!
Also, Jesus made a point of instructing his disciples to “not look gloomy like the hypocrites” when they fast so that others will notice them. Whether we are fasting or abstaining, we don’t use it to draw attention to ourselves.
Not long ago, J. D. Walt led a fast (see Seedbed website) that was extremely moderate. You picked a day and didn’t take in anything but water until 4:00 pm. He even added in a certain number of “optional grace days” and you could change your day if necessary. If you absolutely could not do without your Morning Joe, juice, soft drink, etc. J.D. said, “Okay, but you gotta look into your commitment.” This fast, mild though it sounds, is not that easy!
In Fasting and Abstinence, balance is important. To see the effects of Abstinence taken to the extreme, watch the delightful movie Chocolat, staring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, and Johnny Depp, set in a small French village during Lent.
OF INTEREST: Fasting and Abstinence are suspended on Sundays during Lent. Because Christ was resurrected on Sunday, Sunday’s are considered a day of Joy and cannot possibly be fasting days.
The Fight Between Carnival and Lent
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days until Easter (not including Sundays).
References to Lent have been documented as far back as 1000 AD.
The day before Lent begins is “Shrove Tuesday”. For centuries, “Shovetide” was a time of confession and repentance, so that the faithful might enter the Lenten Season cleansed or “shriven”.
However, by the late Middle Ages, the time leading up to Lent had become a time of “eat, drink, and be merry” (as you could afford to). There was a good reason for this. Back in the day, (say 1500), folks didn’t have the means to feed all their livestock the whole winter season. Livestock that was not to be wintered was slaughtered, so meat was abundant. Foods made with eggs, butter, and fat were also consumed, as these had a “short shelf-life” (no refrigeration) and their supply would naturally dwindle during Lent. Ultimately, one would give them up, whether one wanted to or not. Lent was a time of enforced increasing abstinence and marked a division in two different seasonal cuisines.
In some communities, the period leading up to Lent was marked by physically enacting a battle between Bounty and Abstinence. This is the subject of the incredible painting The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, by Peter Bruegal the Elder in 1559.
ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent – a time 40 days before Easter when Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and heightened spiritual discipline. In the Ash Wednesday Service, we will follow a centuries-old tradition in which ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on our foreheads. The ashes are made from the palms that were used in our Palm Sunday Celebration last year.
Ashes have a long history in both Jewish and Christian religions. The ashes on Ash Wednesday are an outward sign of both repentance and hope for forgiveness. They indicate that we recognize our shortcomings before God and acknowledge our own mortality: “Dust thou art, to dust thou shall return” (Genesis 3:19). But despite this, as we begin our journey toward Easter, we are filled with Hope knowing that at Easter Jesus triumphed over both our sins and our physical death. To those who truly repent Jesus, offers forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.
PALM SUNDAY SERVICES
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was the Jewish festival of Passover and the whole city was crowded.
At this time, the Jews were being crushed by the tyranny of the Roman Empire. Long ago it had been prophesied that a Messiah would come to rescue them from persecution.
Jesus was well-versed in Jewish scripture. He knew the Messianic prophecies and, on Palm Sunday, he entered Jerusalem accordingly: In Bethphage, he mounted a donkey (Matthew 21: 1-3; Mark 11: 1-7; Luke 19:28-40). From Bethphage, Jesus rode the donkey 2 miles to the Mount of Olives then a short distance across the Kidron Valley, through the Eastern or Golden Gate, and on into Jerusalem. The horribly oppressed Jews welcomed Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. In joy they waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna“- a phrase meaning “save us”.
MAUNDY THURSDAY SERVICE
Maundy Thursday, also known as “Holy Thursday”, is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday. It is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. This is called the Last Supper because shortly after this Jesus was arrested and crucified.
Two important events occurred on Maundy Thursday. First, before the supper, Jesus washed the feet of all of his disciples, thereby setting the example that his followers should love and serve one another with humility. The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command” (mandatum). This refers to the “new commandment” that Jesus gave his Disciples after he had washed their feet: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you are to love one another. If there is love among you then all will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34, New English Bible).
During the Last Supper, “Jesus took bread and having said the blessing, he broke it and gave it to the disciples with the words: ‘Take this and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup and having offered thanks to God, he gave it to them with the words: ‘Drink from it all of you. For this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Matthew 26: 26-28, New English Bible).’’ With these acts, Jesus instituted the ritual of Holy Communion (the Eucharist) which is re-experience and commemorated at our Maundy Thursday Service.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
On Good Friday, we reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. It’s called “good” because of what Jesus’ death means for the redemption of the world. Worship this evening focuses on three aims: 1) to narrate and remember the last words that Jesus spoke from the cross, 2) to open up to the meaning of these words for our understanding of Jesus and our redemption accomplished by the cross, and, 3) to invite worshipers to renewed prayer and dedication. We worship in a tenebrae worship setting. That is, during the service there will be increased darkness and silence to remind us of the darkness of Good Friday. As the darkness deepens, we can reflect on the great emotional and physical pain that was very real for Jesus as he died on the cross that day. The darkness also reminds us of the darkness that covered the land when Jesus was crucified (Mark 15: 33), and in the darkness and silence we can know the sacrificial love of Jesus for us all.
EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES
“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” – Matthew 28:5,6b
Easter Sunday Services Online April 12, 10:00 a.m.: A Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
On Resurrection Sunday, we proclaim and celebrate the glorious news that Jesus has been raised from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus changes everything. The Resurrection is at the very center of all Christian belief regardless of the denomination. As the great theologian George Eldon Ladd declared, “With the Resurrection we have everything; apart from the Resurrection we have nothing.” By being raised from the dead, as he foretold, Jesus is authenticated as the Son of God. Thus, he has authority to forgive our sins, restore our broken relationship with God, and lead us to life everlasting. That is good news, indeed!